20 Feb
Posted in: Books, CDL, Practice
By    Comments Off on A View is Just a View

A View is Just a View

I’ve started reading Coming Back to Life, by Joanna Macy, which is part of the homework assignment for our first CDL retreat coming up in April. I know Macy is considered to be a great dharma teacher, specializing in Engaged Buddhism especially as it relates to Climate Change and what she calls Deep Ecology. But her tone — in my opinion — is so strident and political that…even though I basically agree with what she’s saying…I can hardly stand to read it.

Example: In the short time span since the US Supreme Court put George W. Bush in the White House, the changes have been swift, deep and dramatic, giving free rein to economic forces that despoil the Earth and impoverish her people. Now with greater need than ever for public monitoring and outcry, we have become a truth-deprived and fearful populace. 

(She’s right about George Bush and the Supreme Court, but really, does that belong in a dharma book!)

Anyway, I was getting more and more irritated (suffering!) with these and other outrageous statements such as:There is a mountain of evidence regarding the 9-11 attacks that was excluded from the 9-11 Commission’s report. It remains unaddressed by the US government, mainstream media and most of US institutions.


But then, thankfully, I remembered this quote from the Buddha:
After investigation, there is nothing among all the views that such one as I would embrace. Seeing misery in philosophical views without adopting any of them and searching for truth, I discover inner peace. For one who is free from views there are no ties. For one who is delivered by understanding, there are no follies. But those who grasp after views and philosophical options wander about in the world annoying people.

That the Supreme Court should not have “put George W. Bush in the White House” is a view. (One with which I agree, but what good does it do to make an issue of it now?) That there is some mysterious “mountain of evidence regarding the 9-11 attacks” that is being kept from the American people is another view. Which sound like crazy paranoia to me, and which again — in my opinion — has no place in a dharma book.

But of course, this is also a view.

Whether she is “right” or “wrong” to put these things in her book is not the point.

I can have a view — I can agree or disagree or take issue with her views all I want — but I don’t have to get all riled up about it. It’s one thing to have a view about things and quite another to grasp onto that view…and to make myself (and others) miserable in the process.

May I continue to remind myself of this!

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